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Vicksburg cousins working together to honor area high-school seniors

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Cousins Dawn Stevenson and Tiffany Howard were upset when they came to the realization that their children and their classmates weren’t going to have a normal end to their high school experience.

Together they created a Facebook group: Adopt a High School Senior Vicksburg & Warren County Class Of 2020. Howard saw a group that had been created in Louisiana and the two decided to do something similar here.

Dawn Stevenson, Tyler Caldwell and Tiffany Howard, Taylor’s mom. Stevenson and Howard created the group (Photo by Thomas Parker)

They saw it as a way to help recognize area seniors who were deprived of prom, the traditional graduation walk and all the other festivities normally afforded a graduating high-school student.

The Vicksburg group has quickly grown to over 3,000 members. It includes all five area high schools and even young people graduating from home-schooling programs.

Members have the opportunity to adopt as many young people as they wish and give them gifts and services or offer mentorship opportunities.

The cousin’s children have excelled in many areas while in school.

Howard’s son, Tyler Caldwell, is graduating from Warren Central. The 18-year-old has been a member of the Big Blue Band, Project Alpha Leadership Club and other organizations during his high school years. He attends Word of Faith Christian Center. Caldwell plans on attending Hinds Community College and later Jackson State University with an emphasis on Physical Science Engineering.

Stevenson’s daughter, Jaeiha Allen, is graduating from Vicksburg High. She has served as senior class president and cheerleader, and is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society. She attends Greater Grove M.B. Church. She plans to attend Jackson State University in the fall majoring in biology.

“We did this as a family,” Stevenson said, “It’s how we were raised.”

“This is a time for us to lean on each other.” Howard added.

For more information, head over to the Facebook group and support area young people if you can.

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People

Pastor Reginald Harris Celebrates 17 years at Bright Morning Star Church

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Photo by Thomas Parker

Vicksburg Daily News was on hand to celebrate a special day with Pastor Reginald Harris and his family.

Sunday, the congregation at Bright Morning Star Church honored Pastor Harris for 17 years of leading the church.

Churchgoers decorated their vehicles and took the opportunity to join in the drive-by celebration and show their appreciation to the Pastor and his family.

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People

Those who keep us safe: Sam Winchester

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Photo by David Day

For 30 years and counting, Samuel K. Winchester has been a public servant.

In 1990, prior to a career in law enforcement, Winchester enlisted in the United States Military.

“I’ve always been involved in that line of work,” he said. “I am a veteran. I was in the United States Army, so that work really centered around a career in law enforcement after that.”

After the army, he got his first start in law enforcement by working at Alcorn State University. After a brief stint with the college, he started at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2000.

Winchester grew up in a tiny town in Jefferson County, northeast of Natchez, called Rodney, Miss.

His upbringing resulted in him seeing first hand what it means to be a public servant.

“The person I looked up to was my father,” Winchester said. “Ironically, we both mirrored each other’s occupations. He was in the military and also he worked at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department.”

Winchester saw that the Warren County Sheriff’s Department was hiring and he was hired in 2004.

With almost two decades with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Winchester wears many hats.

Winchester has worked his way up the ranks and in 2006 was named detective for the Criminal Investigation Division. He also is a hostage crisis negotiator for the department. Winchester is also called on to investigate county fires as a county fire investigator. Lastly, one of the most notable positions Winchester serves is as the primary driving instructor at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy for the State of Mississippi located in Pearl.

With all these responsibilities, Winchester is a mild mannered man who enjoys being there for his community.

“My favorite part of serving on the sheriff’s department is that I get to help people,” Winchester said. “In today’s society, our job is centered around the public, so we always want the public to know we are available to them and it’s very crucial that we help everybody. If you can just help one person and touch one person’s life you can consider that a successful day.”

The people of Warren County are not the only people who recognize Winchester’s hard work. In 2017, he was recognized by Hon. Bennie G. Thompson in the House of Representatives by a Congressional Record for his service.

In the record, Thompson wrote, “I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing, Det. Sam Winchester for his hard work, dedication and a strong desire to serve his country and community.”

After all of this success in his career, Winchester was asked to define a community hero.

“When you serve the public you dont put alot of thought into it being an individual community hero because it has so many moving parts to it,” he said. “Its a team effort. It’s not an individual effort. I look at everyone who serves the public and in law enforcement as a hero. Everyone who wakes up and puts on the uniform and risk their life to save someone else’s life or touch someone else’s life, that’s a hero.”

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Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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